4513.0 - Criminal Courts, Australia, 2001-02  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 09/04/2003   
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April 9, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
More than 70% of guilty defendants received a custodial order

More than one in two (54%) defendants proven guilty in Australia's Higher Criminal Courts in 2001-02, received a custodial order to be served in a correctional facility or in the community and 17% received a custodial order involving a fully suspended sentence as their principal sentence type, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Of the defendants who received a non-custodial order as their principal sentence type, the most common for both males and females was a community supervision or community work order (70% and 73% respectively).

Of the 17,997 finalised Higher Criminal Court defendants in 2001-02, approximately 85% (15,229) were finalised by adjudication (proven guilty or acquitted). Of these adjudicated defendants:
  • Nearly one in two (48%) were males aged between 20-34 years. Males represented nearly nine in ten (88%) adjudicated defendants;
  • Almost three quarters were in five principal offence categories, including: acts intended to cause injury (including assault) (20%); unlawful entry with intent (including burglary and break and enter) (14%); offences related to robbery and extortion (13%); illicit drug offences (13%); and offences related to sexual assault (10%);
  • Males were more likely than females to have a principal offence related to sexual assault (12% of males and 1% of females), while females were more likely to have a principal offence related to deception (6% of males and 17% of females);
  • Guilty pleas accounted for 84% of adjudicated finalisations, while the remaining 16% (2,474) were subject to a trial outcome. Of all trial outcomes, approximately half were found guilty; and
  • Less than one in ten (8%) were acquitted, however this proportion varied across the principal offence categories, ranging from 25% for sexual assault to 2% for deception.

Further information is in Criminal Courts, 2001-02 (cat. no. 4513.0).